Advice for students: Bloomington is for the birds

As a local government reporter, it is not hard to justify writing about the fancy birds that hang out in Bloomington’s public parks.

The birds at public parks are a part of my regular beat, because public parks are run by local government.

Local government officials can look to the redhead ducks at Miller-Showers or great blue herons at Griffy Lake  as an example to follow: As long as I have been watching, Bloomington’s pretty birds have never violated Indiana’s Open Door Law.

But the public parks are not the only outdoor places in Bloomington. There’s plenty of remarkable birds in other parts of town. Continue reading “Advice for students: Bloomington is for the birds”

Photos: Red-tailed hawk moves for change of venue, swaps courthouse weathervane for tree branch

The Monroe County courthouse red-tailed hawk beat, which The B Square has been covering since Earth Day this year, has been quiet for a few weeks.

Before Saturday (May 28) the last sighting of the hawk had been on May 9. On that day the bird  took up is customary post on top of the courthouse weathervane, then flew off in its nonchalant spectacular way.

But on Saturday morning, The B Square was able to document what appears to be nest-build activity by the hawk, in a tree on the courthouse grounds.

Below are separate sets of photos, from Saturday and three weeks ago. Continue reading “Photos: Red-tailed hawk moves for change of venue, swaps courthouse weathervane for tree branch”

Photos: Great blue heron catches fish, elects to eat with no review of provisional palate

Wildlife drama unfolded Saturday evening at Miller-Showers Park, which is wedged between Walnut Street and College Avenue on Bloomington’s north side.

In the early evening hours, a great blue heron flew in and landed near the east bank of the southernmost stormwater detention pond, towards the spillway to the next lower pond.

From there the bird worked its way along the bank southward, catching and eating at least one pretty big fish, which looked like a largemouth bass.

The great blue endured repeated harassment from a female red-winged blackbird, which would flutter about, at times landing on the bigger bird’s back. The great blue was unperturbed.

Also counted as part of the evening’s wildlife inventory at Miller-Showers Park was a mother mallard, with at least four ducklings in tow. A muskrat carved a V-shape in the water as it swam along the surface from north to south across the pond.

Saturday’s evening at the park offered good weather for wildlife viewing—clear skies around 80 F degrees with winds out of the southeast at 7 mph. More photos below. Continue reading “Photos: Great blue heron catches fish, elects to eat with no review of provisional palate”

Photos: Great blue heron catches, eats fish, declines to entertain motion to postpone

A Sunday afternoon visit to Miller-Showers Park on the north side of Bloomington, wedged between College Avenue and Walnut Street, confirmed that great blue herons are carnivores. Winds were out of the west at 16 mph with a temperature around 67 F degrees.

More photos below. They’re displayed in chronological order. Just after The B Square arrived at Miller-Showers, the heron flew from the southernmost pool down to the lower (northernmost) pool.

Continue reading “Photos: Great blue heron catches, eats fish, declines to entertain motion to postpone”